The third annual Toast to Tourism will be held at Parkland College Theatre and will celebrate the significant impact of tourism in Champaign County.
“Travel and tourism is a $306.6 million industry for Champaign County, providing 2,520 jobs and generating $5.07 million in local tax revenue,” states Jayne DeLuce, President & CEO of Visit Champaign County. “We are excited to honor those who help make this industry successful, including our funding partners, the tourism industry work force, along with those who give their time and talents at countywide events.”
Kicking off the event will be a keynote speech from Cory Jobe, Director of the Illinois Office of Tourism (IOT). Jobe will highlight the efforts of the IOT as they continue to promote the state of Illinois as a destination for visitors around the world.
During the event, Visit Champaign County will present the Tourism Impact Awards, designed to honor those who have greatly contributed to travel and tourism in Champaign County. The 2015 Tourism Impact award winners include: Leslie Cooperband and Wes Jarrell, Prairie Fruits Farm; Josh Laskowski, Stevie Jay Broadcasting; Lynne Srull, Jefferson Middle School Archery; Peter T. Tomaras; Retired; and Jamarr Turner, Aroma Café.
As part of National Travel and Tourism Week, cities nationwide are expected to hold rallies to champion travel as a jobs creator and revenue generator. Many events will be staged under the “Travel Is _____________” theme, chosen by the U.S. Travel Association to reflect the wide-ranging and robust ways that the U.S. travel industry contributes to the fabric of America.
“Travel contributes to the fabric of America and continues to do wonders for our businesses and personal lives,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, the umbrella organization representing the travel industry in the U.S. “This weeklong celebration should extend to every day of the week to strengthen further our dynamic industry.”
Travel can also have a positive effect on personal well-being. A recent study by the U.S. Travel Association found that Americans left 429 million vacation days unused (the most in nearly 40 years) and forfeited $52.4 billion in time-off benefits. If workers took just one more day off each year, travel would generate $73 billion annually for the economy.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel and tourism generated $2.1 trillion in economic output for the U.S. economy in 2014. The industry also represents one of America’s largest employers, supporting 15 million jobs—8 million direct tourism jobs and 7 million indirect and induced jobs that can not be outsourced. Direct spending from travel contributes more than $141.5 billion to the federal, state and local tax revenues. Each American household would pay $1,147 more in taxes without travel revenues.